GM picks Microsoft CFO to run finances

December 21, 2009 http://detnews.com/article/20091221/AUTO01/912210377

GM picks Microsoft CFO to run finances

BRYCE G. HOFFMAN
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. has tapped Chris Liddell, chief financial officer of Microsoft Corp., to be its new vice chairman and chief financial officer in the automaker’s latest shakeup of its top management team.

"Chris brings a depth and experience to this job that were unmatched in our search for a new financial leader," said GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre. "Chris will lead our financial and accounting operations on a global basis and will report directly to me. We’re also looking to his experience and insights in corporate strategy as a member of the senior leadership team in helping our restructuring efforts."

Liddell replaces Ray Young, who becomes vice president of international operations. The Obama administration had been very critical of how GM’s financial operations were managed. The automaker had been looking for a new CFO for several months.

Liddell’s appointment comes less than two weeks after Whitacre ousted former CEO Fritz Henderson and made several key management changes that gave more responsibility to younger executives and moved women into important roles running GM’s sales and marketing operation, as well as manufacturing and labor relations.

Liddell, 51, has been the CFO of the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant since 2005. He will leave Microsoft on Dec. 31 and assume his new responsibilities at GM in the new year. Before Microsoft, Liddell was CFO of International Paper Co., the world’s largest forest products company. He also has investment banking experience and was a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting.

Liddell received an engineering degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and a Master of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England. He once served as director of the New Zealand Rugby Union and governor of the New Zealand Sports Foundation.

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